One year sober: Thankful for a new beginning


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man was homeless for 10 years before he decided to turn his life around. Now Frank Lewis is celebrating the holidays as a newly sober man.

Frank went from living in a tent in the woods to living in his very own apartment. He has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.

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“Everybody thought it was impossible for me to do it,” Frank said. “But it’s not impossible. If you have hope and loving support like I had, you can do it.”

After living on the streets for years Frank sought treatment last November. Friends definitely had their doubts, but Frank proved them wrong.

“When he got out of the program at Gateway a little bit early we were all really worried to be completely honest,” Frank’s friend, Jason Mitchell said. “But he was so committed, so driven, and his support system was so strong that failure was impossible.”

With treatment and help from friends Frank is now a changed man. Not only does he look different, he feels different, and it shows.

“Just living in the woods, looking like a complete mess most of the time to the man he is now clean, just expressive, so full of joy it’s a complete 180 and it’s awesome,” Mitchell said.

Frank has been sober for more than a year. He is now living in an apartment with a walk in closet full of clothes, a fridge stocked with food, and loving company by his side. An apartment full of love, something Frank never thought was possible.

“I just want to inspire other people to live a better life cause there is a better life without addiction,” Frank said.

Frank’s new mission is to help others get the help they need.

“More than proud. Proud wouldn’t even begin to illustrate the way I feel about him,” Mitchell said.

Frank said his biggest challenge over the year was staying clean.

“I wouldn’t trade it for nothing. I’ll never go back,” Frank said.

Frank volunteers at least four times a week at the place that started his journey to sobriety, Vigilant Hope. Frank’s goal in the next few years is to become a counselor for people with addiction.

For more on Frank’s journey, click here.